By Noor Al Sayegh
“Which flavor would you like to have, Ally?”
“Chocolate with sprinkles and gummy bears, daddy!”
“Wow. What a fast reply, Al.”
“Are you sure you’re going to eat it all darling, or do you think it will be a better idea if you share it with Leo?”
As soon as her brother heard the word “share”, he started moving around his mom’s shoulders, asking her to put him down.
“Why so cranky, Leo?!” the mother complained. When she had finally put him down, Leo ran towards the ice cream. “I am not sharing with Ally. I want this one!” he said, pointing to the vanilla ice cream. “And no toppings, daddy!”
“Sure thing, champ!” the father replied. “You are both going to have a scoop all to yourselves, and you better finish it all!”
This scene unfolded before my eyes while I munched on cookies and cream ice cream in a London ice cream shop. I sat there and watched the children choose their ice cream. I watched the mother and father as well. They all had different ice cream flavors. Not only that, but they all looked so different. It was beautiful.
Did the mother have Ally with another man, I wondered to myself, then meet her current husband? And what about Leo? He didn’t look like either of his parents. But then again, when I looked closely, I thought I could spot the faintest resemblance between them all. Not much, but it was there.
“Why can’t we welcome love without rules? Why is discrimination stronger than love to some?”
I found it amazing to see a couple that chose to become a family despite their differences. Looks didn’t matter and color didn’t either. They might have had other differences that I could not see, but the view was enough to keep my heart warm.
Why can’t we all be like that, I wondered. Why can’t we welcome love without rules? Why is discrimination stronger than love to some? Why do people get to decide if one is good enough for the other, even if the couple themselves don’t mind the “differences” and are perfectly happy? Why must one be superior and the other inferior when it comes to looks, color, or status? But most of all, who are we, and why is it okay for us to judge a love we haven’t experienced?
I didn’t want to act as a non-judgmental goodie-goodie, so I imagined myself back in my country, looking at a couple like this, so unalike on the surface. Would I have judged? I think I would have.
I would have because I wouldn’t have been alone watching those two. Society, family and friends would have been at the back of my mind, and they would have spoken loudly. They would have dressed my opinion, and it would have no longer been a naked one.
“Who are we, and why is it okay for us to judge a love we haven’t experienced?”
Watching this family made me think: why can’t the love that humans carry for one another be as accepted as the love people carry for different flavors of ice cream? Ally likes a crowded one that is full of gummy bears and sprinkles (which I personally think might cause stomach discomfort). But my opinion doesn’t matter because her choice of ice cream wouldn’t affect my stomach. Her mother had allowed her to have it because it was her preference and it’d make her happy. She would’ve thrown a strawberry ice cream in the bin if she was forced into having one, no matter how good they had tried to convince her it was. Leo just loves it plain. If it’s a plain ice cream he wants, then it’s a plain one he gets. His father didn’t feel the need to get him to be more adventurous. He didn’t shove a spoon of chocolate ice cream with gummy bears into his mouth.
The family of four walked towards me, each carrying their ice cream. The husband looked at his wife’s ice cream and commented, “Honey, why did you choose the cotton candy ice cream? I thought you disliked its sweetness.”
“I do,” giggled his wife. “But the baby asked for it,” she said, rubbing her belly.
The world is all about different tastes and preferences. It’s small enough for us to love and accept each other, yet big enough to let each other be.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.
Noor Al Sayegh is an Emirati writer with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and human services. She has found her passion through writing and has written a collection of reflections while she lived shortly in London. Noor is also passionate about charity and has started her own project called “Letters from Noor” where she writes encouraging words to people, believing in the Prophetic saying: “A good word is a charity”.